Joseph Angelo Schiavoni, the long time proprietor of Schiavoni’s IGA Market in Sag Harbor, passed away on October 9, 2010, at the Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead. He was 79.
Mr. Schiavoni, who lived on Ferry Road in North Haven for the last 45 years, was a familiar face to residents who frequented the market. In fact, Mr. Schiavoni learned the business at the knee of his father, Angelo, starting at the age of 10 when he delivered groceries on his bike.
But beyond his role in the Main Street store, son Michael, who took over the business reins from his father more than a decade ago, said this week it was Mr. Schiavoni’s generosity of spirit that people most recalled.
“He’s always been generous and has always done things, that he wouldn’t tell you about,” said Michael. “There was a lady who called my mom in the last few days and said, ‘One time I went in the store and didn’t have enough to pay for the groceries, and he said just take them and come back tomorrow.’ That meant pay for them when you can. He must have felt blessed in his own life. He didn’t have that attachment to money most people had.”
In his final years, Michael notes that his father particularly enjoyed spending time at Stella Maris Regional School in Sag Harbor where he read to the students.
“He was an angel for us and a gift for our school community as far back as I can remember,” said Jane Peters, principal of Stella Maris. “He and [wife] Vickie kept our library supplied with magazines and books, gave teachers money to spend on school supplies, and paid for scholarships for students.”
“But the greatest gift was the time he spent with our kids reading with them, bringing them donuts or taking them to the store to show how peanut butter was made,” she said.
“He enjoyed people very much,” added Michael. “Hearing all the stories about him encourages me to step up and be like that too. He had a lot of pride in his family and business.”
Joseph Angelo Schiavoni was born in Sag Harbor on May 10, 1931 to the late Angelo and Concetta (Laspina) Schiavoni. A 1948 graduate of Pierson High School, he attended state college at New Paltz and was the husband of Victoria (Bibona) Schiavoni.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Schiavoni leaves three children: Mary Mather of Mobile, Ala.; Michael Schiavoni of Sag Harbor; and Andrew Schiavoni, M.D., of Denver, Colo. Also surviving is a sister, Constance Taylor of Tallahassee, Fla.; 10 grandchildren; and nine nieces and nephews. Mr. Schiavoni was predeceased by his parents, brother, John, and a sister, Leatrice Sherry.
Mr. Schiavoni was a member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department for many years, and was the former secretary of Montauk Hose. He was also a Cub Scout leader for 10 years, a member of the finance committee at St. Andrews R.C. Church and a member of the Knights of Columbus.
A funeral mass was held on Tuesday, October 12 at St. Andrew’s Church in Sag Harbor followed by interment in St. Andrew’s Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made in Mr. Schiavoni’s memory to Cormaria Retreat House, Stella Maris Regional School, St. Andrews R.C. Church and the Sag Harbor Ambulance Corps.